Dupin smiled. "I knew you would not find it," he said. Germont became very red in the face. "Then why did you make me search the apartment again?" he shouted.
"My dear Germont," Dupin said. "Let me tell you a little story. Do you remember the famous doctor, Louis Abernathy?"
"No!" Germont shouted. "Get to the point, Dupin!"
"Of course! Of course," Dupin said. "Once, a rich old man met Abernathy at a party. The old man was not feeling very well. He decided he would get a medical opinion from the doctor without paying for it. So he described his problems to Abernathy. 'Now doctor,' the old man said, 'suppose you had a patient like that. What would you tell him to take?'"
"'Oh, that is quite simple,' said Abernathy. 'I would tell him to take my advice.'"
Germont looked embarrassed. "Look here, Dupin. I am perfectly willing to pay for advice."
Dupin smiled at Germont. "How much money did you say the reward was?" he asked. Germont sighed. "I do not want to tell you the exact amount. But I would give fifty thousand francs to the person who helps me find that letter."
"In that case," Dupin said, "take out your checkbook and write me a check for fifty thousand francs. When you have signed the check, I will give you the letter."
Germont looked at Dupin with his mouth open. His eyes seemed to jump out of his head. Then he took out his checkbook and pen, and wrote a check for fifty thousand francs. He gave it to Dupin.
My friend examined the check carefully and put it in his pocket. Then he unlocked a drawer of his desk, took out the letter, and gave it to Germont.